trademarkAre you one of the rare few pet sitting business owners who have a trademark for your pet sitting and dog walking business?

If so, you don’t need to read this. Run along! Have fun!

But if you don’t have a trademark for your pet sitting business…please do read this. Reading this may save you thousands of dollars – and a lot of heartache down the road. (And we all know how important it is to save money and to be good to our hearts.)

A few years ago I was coaching a woman who had a business name that was similar to a well-known franchise.

I alerted her to this in her pet sitting coaching session and asked her if she was aware of the franchise and the fact that her business name was very similar to that franchise.

“Oh yeah”, she said. “I know about that franchise but my business is such a small business that it’s not going to be a problem. And my business name isn’t identical so it’s not a big deal.”

I strongly recommended that she change her name because I suspected that it might become a problem at some point.

She decided not to change her name.

She didn’t want to go through the hassle of changing her business name. She also said that it would cost too much to change all her marketing materials.

In the next session I again urged her to change her name.

But she didn’t want to change her business name and so she didn’t. (I will usually bring up ‘red flags’ a couple of times in my pet sitting coaching sessions with clients and after that, I let it go. I’m here to shine the business flashlight for my clients, not cram it down their throat.) :)

A few years later I received a frantic email from this same woman. The franchise had contacted her and had demanded that she change her business name immediately or they would take legal action against her.

She was scared. She was also angry that this big, horrible (her words, not mine) company was coming after her because here she was a small company and wasn’t competing with them, a big franchise. And her name wasn’t identical. Why would they bother coming after her? (She was pissed. But underneath the anger -as it is for most of us- was fear.)

She lost a lot of sleep for the next few days and finally decided to change her business name. She didn’t want to spend the thousands of dollars to fight this company and both I (and her attorney) told her she would have lost the case anyway, since her name was so similar and they held the trademark.

I’ve had to deal with this a number of times in my own business…

Recently someone was using the phrase ‘six-figure pet business’ in their marketing materials and many of you alerted me to this (thank you, dear ones, you guys are the best!)

I sent an email alerting this person to the fact that I hold the trademark and that using that phrase is illegal. Who knows if this person realized that what they did was illegal (it doesn’t really matter if they realized that or not) but what matters is that I, as the business owner, need to defend my business name, especially if it’s causing confusion for my clients. And if you have the trademark for your business name and someone is using the same or similar name then it’s important for you to defend your business too.

And don’t worry – if you have the trademark for your business name then defending your name will probably come naturally for you as some of our most primal feelings come up when we see someone who is using our trademarked business name. Those primal feelings are usually enough to fuel us to take action!

I had to do a lot of trademark defending when I owned my pet sitting and dog walking business. I had the trademark for my business name and had to ‘go after’ business owners who had similar -or the same- names as mine.

I disliked doing that (one of my least favorite parts of owning a business is defending the trademark, let me tell you) BUT when similar names create confusion for clients (even if the businesses with similar names are on opposite ends of the country) it’s one of those actions that you simply have to take as a business owner.

And this is why when that franchise went after my client, I didn’t blame them at all. Her business name was creating confusion for their company. They had to defend their company. And if it happens to you and your trademarked business name, you will need (and want) to do defend your business too.

So, pet business owners, here are some action steps for you around trademark issues:

1. If you don’t have a trademark, get a trademark for your pet business name. As soon as possible. (And be sure to use a lawyer to set up the trademark because that will ensure that if it’s yours to get, you will get it. Years ago I had the experience of applying for a trademark and my application was rejected. I then used a lawyer to apply for the trademark and they were able to successfully get me the trademark.) Please note that the application approval or rejection process can take many months so you’ll need to be patient.

 2. If your business name can’t be trademarked then change your name so it can be trademarked. (The longer you wait, the more painful it will be to have to change your name if someone comes after you for trademark infringement. And when that happens, it won’t be pretty and it will be very expensive if the trademark suit goes to court.)

3. If you have a trademark and someone is using your name (or a very similar name that could cause confusion), contact them with a friendly email first. I know, I know. Believe me, I know. It feels like someone is stealing your business name -and they are and yes, it’s illegal- and you are probably angry about that but do give them the benefit of the doubt. They may not know that your business exists. They may not be aware that you hold the trademark for that business name. (It’s unlikely in this age of powerful search engines but you never know.) Assume their innocence. Keep the email short and sweet and write something simple like: “I’m not sure if you are aware or not but I hold the trademark for ______ (your business name). Your business name is identical (or very similar) to mine and is causing confusion for my clients. Please change your business name by _______ (date). Failure to do so will result in legal action. Thanks.”

4. If the ‘friendly email’ doesn’t work then you’ll want to hire a lawyer to send a ‘cease and desist’ letter to them. (My fiance’ is a lawyer and he tells me that in the legal world those ‘cease and desist’ letters are called NastyGrams.) :)

If you need to send a ‘NastyGram’ or need to have a trademark attorney set up your trademark for you, I recommend searching online for “low cost legal aid” or “Pre-Paid Legal” and your town to find an inexpensive attorney in your area who can help you.

Good luck and happy trademarking!

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The Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference is almost here!

For those of you who didn’t attend last year’s conference, here’s what it is: it’s a FREE (yes, free!) online conference for all service-based pet professionals including dog walkers, pet groomers, dog trainers, pet sitters and doggy day care owners.speaker box 2015

We have interviewed 20 top pet business experts including Victoria Stilwell, Ian Dunbar, Andrea Arden and Patti Moran from Pet Sitters International.

Here’s how the conference works: we release 1-2 speaker videos a day from Sept. 8-Sept. 22, 2015. You’ll have 24 hours to watch each daily speaker interview(s). Most of the speakers are offering valuable free gifts too!

Don’t have time to watch them all or want unlimited viewing? No problem. During the conference, we’ll have the speaker video package available for unlimited viewing for a low price.

Click for more information and to sign up now for the Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference.


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Perhaps you’ve had the experience of a client saying they never received your emails…or you have never received theirs. inbox image

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Or you’ve had a client or friend say, “Please ‘whitelist’ my email so you are sure to get it.”  …But you don’t know how to ‘whitelist’ (or even know what ‘whitelist’ is).

To whitelist an email is simply to alert your email system that the particular email isn’t spam or junk. When you ‘whitelist’ an email it ensures that, no matter what, you will receive future emails in your regular inbox (not in your spam or junk folders).

Here’s what to send your clients when your emails aren’t getting to their emails. And if their emails aren’t getting to you, you can do what I’ve written below in order to ‘whitelist’ their emails so they don’t go in your spam or junk folder or worse…disappear!

I encourage you to simply copy and paste this letter below and simply insert your email address! Please note that everywhere a line appears (______) you should insert your email there before you send to your clients.

How To “Whitelist” Our Emails So You Receive Our Emails  (We Know Your Time is Valuable So Don’t Worry ~ It Only Takes a Minute!)

Below is information on how to ‘whitelist’ _________ with AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, ThunderBird and Postini.

Even if your ISP or email program is not listed, with these instructions you should be able to figure out how to ‘whitelist’ our email address at any ISP or with any email program.

Also, if you find email from ______________ in your spam or junk folder, please take that opportunity to tell your mail program that it is not spam by hitting the “not spam”, “not junk” or similar button, as that will train your program to whitelist it.


To add _____________ to your AOL address book:email

  1. Open an email from us and then click the ‘This Is Not Spam’ button
  2. Click the Mail menu and select Address Book
  3. Wait for the Address Book window to pop up, then click the ‘Add’ button
  4. Wait for the Address Card for New Contact window to load
  5. Paste _______________ into the ‘Other E-Mail’ field
  6. Make our “From” address, _______________, the Primary E-Mail address by checking the appropriate box
  7. Click “Save”


To whitelist ________________with Yahoo!, you will need to set up a “filter” after first taking the following steps:

  1. If you find email from ___________________ is going to your Yahoo! bulk folder, open it and click “Not Spam”
  2. Be sure that the address _________________ is not in your “Blocked Addresses” list. If _________________ is on your “Blocked Addresses” list, select it and click “Remove Block”

Now to create the filter:

  1. Open your mail and click on “Mail Options” in the upper right hand corner
  2. Select ‘Filters’ (in the bottom left corner)
  3. On the Filters page, click “Add”
  4. Select the “From header:” rule, and add “contains” and ____________________ which tells the system to put email with ___________________ in your inbox and not the bulk folder.
  5. Click the “Choose Folder” pull down menu and select ‘Inbox’
  6. Pick the Add Filter button


To whitelist our address with Hotmail you will need to add ______________________ to your Hotmail Safe List. Here’s how:

  1. First, if you find email from us in your Hotmail junk folder, open the email and click “Not Junk”
  2. Next, check to see if if the email address _________________ is on your Blocked Senders list. If you find _______________ on your Hotmail blocked senders list, select it and click on the “Remove” button.
  3. Next, open your mailbox and click “Options” in the upper right hand corner
  4. At the top of the page, click on the “Junk E-mail Protection” link
  5. Next, click on “Safe List”, which is down near the bottom
  6. Copy and paste _____________________ where it says “Type an address or domain”
  7. Click the “Add” button


  1. First, if you find email from us in your Gmail spam folder, select our email and click the “Not Spam” button
  2. Next, open an email that you have received from us
  3. Click on the little down-pointing-triangle-arrow next to “Reply”:
  4. Click “Add ***INSERT NAME HERE*** to Contacts list”

Microsoft Outlook 

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options
  2. On the Preferences tab, click Junk E-mail
  3. On the Safe Senders tab, click Add
  4. Add ________________ where it says “Add address”
  5. Click OK


To whitelist in Thunderbird, you will need to add ___________________to your address book, and then set up your Thunderbird Junk Mail Controls to whitelist your address book.

  1. First, if you find email from ___________________ in your Junk folder, right-click on our email and choose “Mark as Not Junk”
  2. Next, click the Address Book button
  3. Highlight the Personal Address Book
  4. Click on “New Card”
  5. In the “Contact” tab of the new card, copy and paste _____________________ to the email dialog box
  6. Click “Ok”
  7. Next, to whitelist your address book, select “Tools > Junk Mail Controls” from the drop down menu
  8. Update the “White Lists” module under the “Settings” tab by selecting “Personal Address Book” from the drop down menu, and then check the box next to “Do not mark messages as junk mail”
  9. Click “Ok”

Apple Mail for OS X

  1. First, if email from ________________________ ends up in your junk folder, highlight or open it and click “Not Junk” at the top of your screen.


  1. Go to Mail > Preferences from your Mail menu
  2. Go to the Rules tab
  3. Select Add Rule
  4. Give this rule a name such as “INSERT NAME HERE”
  5. Create a rule that says “If any of the following conditions are met: ‘From’ ‘Contains’” and then paste in “___________________”
  6. From the actions, select ‘Move message’ to mailbox ‘Inbox’.
  7. Click “OK”

Postini you've got mail

You do not need to whitelist email from Simply Hired in Postini unless you find it trapped in the “Junk” area by Postini.

  1. Log into your Postini account
  2. Look to see if any email from ______________________ is listed in your Junk area
  3. If you find email from ____________________in the Junk area, check the check box next to the email from ________________Click the “Deliver Selected” link at the very top of the Junk screen
  4. On the next screen, click the “Approve Sender” check box next to the email from _________________
  5. Click the “Approve Selected Senders” button

Thanks for taking the time to do this. We look forward to appearing in your inbox soon!

NOTE FROM KRISTIN: Try doing this now with our emails:


…so you can make sure it works for you before trying it on your client emails. And this will also ensure that you receive our emails. :)

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I am the type of person who, when someone asks me whether I want the good news first or the bad news, I always pick hearing the bad news first. business killing you

Here’s why: I want to get the bad news out of the way and end the conversation on a lighter note and with positivity. A lot of the pet sitting and dog walking business owners that I coach do that also. It happens when we are going over their successes and disappointments at the beginning of their coaching session.

“Which do you want to share first..your disappointments or successes?” I will ask. Inevitably they will pick the disappointments first.

So…that’s what I’m going to do here, pet sitters and dog walkers. I am going to start with the ‘bad news’.

Here it is:

It’s been said that ‘compassion fatigue’ is killing some members of our pet business industry. Compassion fatigue has many of the symptoms of PTSD, among them being depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Dr. Yin was a well-known and beloved dog trainer who committed suicide last year. Many of those closest to her believe that her suicide was caused from Compassion Fatigue. yin

Jessica Dolce is a certified compassion fatigue educator. She says:

“Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard of our work with animals, whether you are an animal control officer or kennel attendant in a small town or an internationally recognized veterinarian. Our work requires that we compassionately and effectively respond to the constant demand to be helping to those who are suffering and in need.“

Compassion fatigue comes from caring for people and pets and forgetting to care for ourselves. It comes from not putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first.

Pet care providers (dog walkers, dog trainers, pet sitters, pet groomers, doggy day care owners and other pet business owners) often find themselves shelving their needs and wants for those of their human and animal clients. This leads to burnout which leads to exhaustion which can then lead to compassion fatigue and all that comes along with it (depression, anxiety and wanting to ‘end it all’). Are you at the burnout stage or are you experiencing compassion (and business) fatigue?

Psychotherapist J. Eric Gentry tells the Sacramento Bee:

“Animal care professionals are some of the most pain-saturated people I have ever worked with. The very thing that makes them great at their work, their empathy and dedication and love for animals, makes them vulnerable.”

Here are just a few ways of how compassion fatigue can manifest to the detriment of some the pet sitters and dog walkers that I’ve worked with:

-No time for family and friends. This can result in a deep and dark loneliness and despair over time if left unchanged.

-No downtime to just BE. The compulsion to check smart phone, pet sitting and dog walking business software, voicemail, computer, Facebook and other social media sites becomes an obsession/addiction. This results in always feeling like the pet sitting business owner is ‘on’ and always working.

-When a vacation or day off is scheduled the pet business owner finds it challenging (and in some cases impossible) to follow through on that vacation or take that day off due to client’s needs and neediness. This results in a sense of life being only about work by placing client needs above the needs of the pet business owner.

-If a vacation or day off is scheduled and the pet sitting business owner does goes away or enjoys a day off inevitably some business emergency happens and the pet sitting business owner comes rushing back to the office or client to take care of whatever went wrong in their absence. (Or they will find themselves not enjoying their vacation/day off but rather ruminating about what happened. This can lead to despair from never getting that break that is so desperately needed.)

I know compassion fatigue from personal experience because I suffered from it though I called it ‘business burnout’ when I had it. I was working 12-14 hours a day in my pet sitting businesses (working to the point of exhaustion) and I felt anxious and depressed a lot during that time. It took me a long time to recover and it started with working less and setting more boundaries in my work and in my life. It wasn’t easy. But I did recover. And you can too.

So how can pet sitters and dog walkers combat (and recover from!) compassion fatigue? good news

Okay so I promised you good news and here it is. There are tangible ways to deal with compassion (and business) fatigue.

Just a quick note before you read the tips below because…

You can read all the tips in the world but if you don’t follow them then they won’t help. The key then is to begin to make some big and small changes in your business and your life. Start small by picking one from the list below. And yes, it probably will feel uncomfortable. Changing behaviors and ingrained ways of being always does feel uncomfortable when we first begin. But this is your LIFE we are talking about here. You are worth it. Your pet business will be just fine and your clients will respect you more too when you follow these tips. Remember: we teach others how to treat us. This includes your clients, staff, friends and family.

1. Set office hours and keep them. This means NOT checking email, text messages, computer and voicemail at times other than your scheduled office hours. I know, it’s not easy. But it will get easier over time. Be sure to have these office hours posted on your automatic email to clients as well as listed on your voicemail so clients know when they can expect you to contact them.

2. Stop sending and receiving business texts. Clients and staff members often expect instant replies when they text. And when you reply quickly and outside of your office hours this gets them in the mindset that you are available all the time. If you REALLY need to continue receiving and sending texts then let your staff and clients know you will only be texting between your office hours. Hide your business phone from yourself. Turn off the ringer. Stick it in a drawer. Do whatever you need to do to separate yourself from your business cell phone.

3. Set up a minimum of 2 one-week vacations each year. Put these dates in your calendar. Make them sacred and immovable by not letting clients or business get in the way of your actually going away. These two weeks a year are yours. You deserve them.

4. Put exercise in your schedule and do it 4-5 times a week. No matter what. Exercise helps with depression, anxiety and despair and these are all symptoms of compassion fatigue. I recently coached a pet sitter who had the hardest year she’s ever had (family members died suddenly in an auto accident, her business was struggling, etc.) She kept exercising in spite of the challenges that had come her way and she not only lost 20 pounds but she was also able to deal with her stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

5. Enjoy your hobby once a week. If you don’t have a hobby write a list of things you’d like to explore doing and pick one from the list to see if you enjoy it. A good hobby will refresh and energize you. If yours does, then keep doing it. If it doesn’t, find something that takes your mind off work and allows you to expand and grow in new ways.

6. Cultivate your relationships like the living, growing beings that they are. Your friendships need to be watered. Many pet business owners that I’ve spoken with have few or no friends. It’s sad but true. The reason for this is they turn down invitations from friends or don’t initiate getting together and after awhile friends will stop asking and/or you will grow apart. Even getting together with one friend once a month can make a world of difference in your emotional and mental outlook in your business and your life. We need others. Make time for your friends. They are worth it and so are you.

7. Pick 2 exciting-to-you goals that have nothing to do with your pet sitting business and set out to accomplish them. Focusing on non-business activities creates a rich inner and outer life (you will find yourself thinking about other things other than you business which will give your ‘business brain’ a well-needed rest). These life goals could include dating and/or getting married, starting an veggie garden, buying a home, or perhaps learning to play piano. The world is your oyster. What sounds fun and exciting to you?

It can be very challenging for pet sitters and dog walkers to put themselves first, above their clients and client pets. Your very life may be at stake if you don’t so please, please take (good) care of yourself.

About the author: Kristin Morrison started her pet care company in 1995 and it grew to be one of the largest pet care companies in California before she sold it Kristin4in 2013. Kristin provides business coaching for thousands of pet sitters, dog walkers, dog trainers, and pet groomers across the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia. In 2008 she founded Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™ and Six-Figure Pet Business Academy™ providing coaching, webinars and business products for pet business owners. Kristin wrote the books Six-Figure Pet Sitting and Six-Figure Pet Business which can be found in print on Amazon and in eBook format on her websites: and

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Got pet sitting or dog walking business issues, challenges or pain points?

I have helped thousands of pet sitters and dog walkers make more money, have more fun running their pet sitting businesses and create more time to do the things they love (besides running their pet sitting businesses). woman with many dogs

If you are a pet sitter or dog walker I can help you too!

Read what pet sitters and dog walkers have to say about receiving pet sitting coaching from me.

Find out what I work on with pet sitters and dog walkers and how I work as a pet sitting and dog walking business coach.

If you are a pet sitter or dog walker who is ready to take your business from where you are now to where you want to be, I am ready for you!

To your success,  Kristin4

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How’s your online reputation for your pet sitting or dog walking business these days? online reputation correctWhen you Google your pet sitting or dog walking business do you have good things come up…or not-so-good things show up?

I’ve recently had a few business owners ask me how to ‘hide’ not-so-good things that are being said about them online.

Though you (alas!) can’t delete negative comments online there are powerful steps you can take to reduce the possibility of a potential client seeing something that you you’d rather they didn’t. Here’s how…

1. Search for your name AND your pet sitting or dog walking business name on Google. (Make sure to click on the ‘images’ section that is in Google too to see what’s coming up.)

2. If you discover something negative or online content that you wish wasn’t there, create new online content. Creating more blog posts is the easiest and quickest way to do this. Be sure to occasionally include your name and your pet sitting or dog walking business name in the blog post title and often include it in the category and tag section of your blog posts. You can also create some positive reviews by putting a client testimonial in your blog post.

3. Get listed on LinkedIn if you are not already on there. Be sure to have a picture of yourself or your business logo in your profile.

4. Create a ‘Google alert’ for your name (obviously easier if your name is unusual) and your business name. Just google ‘Google alert’ to sign up for this free service.

5. Get listed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Be sure to create a Facebook business page too. Social media sites come up high on the search engines so you want to be on as many as you can even if you are not often active on all of them.

Put these action items on your to do list this week so you can begin to clean up your online reputation! Kristin4

To your success,

Kristin Morrison signature


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Want a free pet business coaching session or some pet business products (or both!) ...and some fame and glory for you and your pet?1900329_10201766744790356_774646537_o

The Six-Figure Photo Contest starts TODAY and ends on May 15, 2015!

It’s easy to submit your contest photo for a chance to win.

Here’s how (and what!) you can win:

1. Take a picture of your pet with one of the Six-Figure books (selfies with you, your pet and the book are great too!)

2. Post your photo entry on my Facebook page, or the Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy FB page or Six-Figure Pet Business Academy FB page starting TODAY and until May 15, 2015.

Submit your picture of your pet with one of the six-figure books and you could be this year’s winner!

Here are the prizes for the 2015 Photo Contest Winners*:

First Place Winner Will Receive:

  • 50-Minute Business Coaching Session with Kristin
  • $250 Worth of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any Two Upcoming Webinars

Second Place Winner Will Receive:

  • 25-Minute Business Coaching Session with Kristin
  • $150 Worth Of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any Two Upcoming Webinars

Third Place Winner Will Receive:

  • $50 Worth of Pet Business Products
  • Choice of Any One Upcoming WebinarChelsea 003

*Contest ends on Friday, May 15, 2015 so enter your photos soon! One photo entry per person please. Winners will be chosen on or before June 15, 2015 and all awarded product and webinar selections must be chosen by winners on or before June 30, 2015. Coaching sessions for contest winners must be completed by June 30, 2015.

Good luck to you all!

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Hi pet sitters and dog walkers,

For a limited time, I’m offering a FREE pet sitting and dog walking tips and tools booklet for you, my blog post readers!

This pet sitting and dog walking business tips and tools booklet is adapted from my book Six-Figure Pet Sitting.

Click to download the FREE pet sitting and dog walking tips booklet now.

Wishing you so much pet sitting business success!

Kristin Morrison signatureKristin4


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Warning: If you don’t want to create the best 12 months you’ve ever had starting now, do NOT download this FREE 11-page workbook. woman best year

But… if you DO want to create your best year yet… then definitely check this out.

Pet sitting and dog walking business owners who set clear, measurable goals are more likely to achieve them. (And pet business owners who have used this workbook have reported remarkable shifts in their businesses and their lives…in only 12 months!)

Click to download the FREE Create Your Best Year Yet Workbook for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers now.




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